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Row breaks out in Dublin Bus over youths 'scutting' on the back of new buses

Representatives for drivers have said there are ongoing issues with anti-social behaviour in Tallaght and Finglas.

Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

A ROW HAS broken out over the design of Dublin Bus’s newest model of bus, which is facilitating anti-social behaviour in some parts of the city.

A number of videos have emerged on social media in recent weeks of youths ‘scutting’ (clinging to the back of a vehicle to hitch a ride) on the new ‘SG’ model buses. Drivers have said this is a frequent issue, particularly in Tallaght and Finglas.

“It’s getting to be regular, at the moment there is massive anti-social behaviour in the last month,” one driver told TheJournal.ie. “They’re climbing onto the back of the buses and if they fell they could be killed, but it’s not just that there is a lot of stone-throwing etc as well.”

The SG model has a new body and interior design, with two sets of doors – at the front and centre of the bus. They first entered service in 2014.

The company did temporarily pull these new buses off some routes to try to curb the behaviour, but the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) said they are now being used again, and the problems continue.

Of particular concern, according to an NBRU spokesperson, is the access these youths have to a button at the back of the bus that can cut the engine while the vehicle is in motion.

“There is direct access to it, you don’t even have to look hard for it, you can see it at the top of the panel,” they said.

Representatives requested the manufacturers include a mesh covering to avoid this, but were told it was not possible due to airflow requirements to cool the engine.

“In those two areas [Tallaght and Finglas], there is a huge concentration of anti-social behaviour – at least once a week services are curtailed there. It’s calmed down an awful lot since years ago but we still have a lot of stone-throwing and window breaking,” the spokesperson said.

The scutting is different from the normal anti-social behaviour like rock-throwing and fighting, which is visible. You can hear it and see it, but when they’re holding onto the back of the bus you don’t know anyone is there because you can’t see them in the mirrors.

dublinbusbumper Youths have been using this feature on the back of the new model of bus to hitch a ride.

Earlier this month, NBRU representatives told drivers in the Ringsend and Clontarf depots who operate the 27 route not to drive these new buses. However, contracts Dublin Bus has with the National Transport Authority (NTA) – which actually owns the vehicles – require it to operate the new ones with central doors on cross-city routes.

“It’s hard for the drivers because the engineering department allocates the buses, and if that’s what they’re given, they don’t want to get into a conflict situation first thing in the morning. They are nicer buses to drive as well – what really needs to happen here is some sort of engineering modification,” the NBRU spokesperson said.

There are 51 of these SG model buses between the Ringsend and Clontarf depots and 270 in the fleet in total.

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Source: Dublin Bus

The NTA, which purchased these buses for use by Dublin Bus and is buying another 100 of them for delivery in 2017, acknowledged the problem. However, it said it is not a vehicle design problem but is, instead, “reckless behaviour by the youths involved, who are putting their own safety and the safety of others at risk”.

It asked that people refrain from participating in “this type of dangerous behaviour which can result in accidents and serious injuries”.

At a meeting in west Dublin earlier this month attended by members of An Garda Síochána, local councillors, NBRU representatives and Dublin Bus management, the union said that if the issues with anti-social behaviour continued, buses would have to be pulled out of west Tallaght indefinitely. They were assured that garda patrols would be stepped up.

Dublin Bus told TheJournal.ie it is “aware of these types of incidents and has reported such to An Garda Síochána”.

“These are extremely dangerous actions which could result in serious injury and Dublin Bus strongly discourages anyone from partaking in such reckless behaviour,” it said.

Read: Number of journeys taken on all public transport increases by 31 million in four years>

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